Offutt worker receives USAF civil engineer award

  • Published
  • By D.P. Heard
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center recently named Ben Hudson, 55th Civil Engineer Squadron flood recovery office construction inspector, one of civil engineer’s 30 under 30 award recipients for his efforts in flood recovery.

The award recognizes 30 civil engineers under the age of 30 who have pushed themselves beyond what's expected of their role, set an example of excellence for those around them, and made a notable impact on their installation and the CE enterprise.

While deployed overseas, he heard about the historic floods occurring at Offutt. When he returned from deployment, Hudson was working at the 557th Weather Wing as what he called an “in house” handyman. So far, Hudson has completed more than 700 requests for renovations.

In 2020, Hudson accepted a position in flood recovery office. Renovations were already in progress, and he was surprised that Offutt, unlike many other bases hit by natural disasters, had maintained 100% operations.

“Walking through all the flooded buildings was surreal, truly ghosts of the past. It was like exploring a dirty time-capsule,” said Hudson. “Roaches, raccoons, and rats, oh my! …and then the mold.”

“Ben has been a driving force behind Offutt’s flood recovery success. He initially used his experience and expertise to quantify the flood rebuild engineering requirements, then set to work managing the construction,” said Gary Chesley, 55th Civil Engineer Squadron director.

The largest project Hudson has been involved in is the demolition project, which made it possible for construction to begin. Nearly $1.2 billion in assets and structures were demolished. The E-4B hangar was high on the list, as the renovation of the hangar floor and mission support side of the building was necessary to ensure operational readiness for the E-4B worldwide mission.

The facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization program fund the base for day-to-day maintenance, restoring function to damaged facilities, removal of antiquated systems, and updating facilities to meet code. 

"We had an unfilled billet for the flood control office and Hudson is performing inspections and flight chief’s duties," said Joshua Woodward Flight Chief and Disaster Recovery Manager for CE’s recovery office. “I couldn't do it without him, and I will be watching his career with great interest.”

There are currently 26 major projects in progress with the expectation of completing a facility every four to six months over the next six years. The last project is expected to be completed in March 2028.